KatSized is a site that I, Kat, have created to express my interest in fitness. Its contents should not be used to substitute any medical advice or treatment which may be provided by a physician. I encourage you to check with your physician before beginning any new fitness program. With that being said, here is some advice that I have on exercising safely:
Increase Activity Gradually
Keep in mind that we are all at different fitness levels. No matter your personal fitness level, be sure to make any changes in your workout activity gradual. Doing too much, too soon may cause harm to your body. If you didn’t get out of shape overnight, you really can’t expect to get back in to shape overnight, can you? Be patient. Be consistent. You will get there!
When to Stop
It is normal to feel some discomfort and fatigue when exercising, as well as, muscle soreness the following day(s). However, if you experience any of the symptoms listed below, discontinue your workout and seek medical attention:
- Chest pain.
- Extended shortness of breath.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Excessive swelling.
- Irregular heartbeat (palpitations).
- Cramping pains.
Before and After
Always warm up for 5 – 10 minutes and stretch at the beginning of your workout. This increases blood circulation, range of motion, and prepares the body for the workout. Always end your workout with a cool down for 5 – 10 minutes and stretch. This brings your heart rate back down in a smooth transition to prevent blood pressure from dropping too quickly, and relaxes the muscles. *With weight training workouts, your cool down is your stretch.
Stretching increases flexibility. The more flexible you are, the wider range of motion you will have, which helps prevent injury during exercise.
Muscle Pain vs Muscle Strain
It’s important to establish the difference between the painful sensations your body may experience with working out. While there is pain present with strains, there is not necessarily a strain present with all pain. For example, pain can be soreness. Feeling sore after a day or two from your workout is perfectly normal. However, if you experience sharp pain or pain due to swelling from exercising, you may be dealing with a strain.
Muscle strains can be caused by 1) doing too much too soon, such as a drastic increase in the amount of weight being lifted or length of workout time, 2) insufficient warm up and stretch needed to loosen up tight muscles, 3) improper form and execution of exercises, or 4) muscle imbalances.
R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) can help alleviate the pain associated with muscle strains. Although, seeing a physician would be in your best interest. That way you can receive a proper evaluation and treat the injury accordingly.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.